Our experts weigh in on Meta's AI ad features, Pinterest's partnership with Google, and more in this month’s search and social news.
Businesses today must stretch their budgets to reach more and more profitable marketing channels, both online and off. The number of options only continues to grow. Online retailers and eCommerce sellers, in particular, have an important choice to make between Google Shopping, Amazon, and Facebook to promote their products.
Platforms are also constantly evolving, offering new targeting functionalities and benefits to entice advertisers. Facebook remains a powerful innovator, making it the most valuable option for marketers who want to invest in social media advertising.
Here are some reasons why Facebook marketing remains a good investment today and will continue to be an important advertising outlet in the long-term:
Platforms like Google and Amazon have impressive targeting options, but none can compare to Facebook’s capabilities. Facebook has been collecting detailed demographic and behavioral data on its users for more than a decade. Below are just some of the many targeting options advertisers can use to build audiences on the platform:
Facebook advertising allows you to create customized audience groups based on any combination of these targeting factors:
Other advertising outlets offer some of these targeting options, but not at the same volume or granularity as Facebook. When you use Facebook ad targeting to its full extent, you deliver more relevant marketing messages to your audience. This drives more clicks and conversions overall.
According to a recent survey from Clinch, consumers agree that Facebook is the best platform for product discovery and purchasing. As long as Facebook continues to offer the best targeting options in the ad industry, this is unlikely to change.
There are lots of ways to spread your marketing budget in 2020. Marketing managers are stuck with the difficult task of deciding how much to invest in different advertising channels. In general, social media advertising can help you drive improved performance with a lower budget investment. Facebook is the leader in helping advertisers target very specific audiences and increase revenue from their marketing dollars.
According to Hootsuite, marketers spend 20 times as much on TV ads as they do on Facebook videos. Despite spending 20 times more, though, the reach for TV campaigns is less than half of a social campaign:
In another survey asking advertisers which platform offers the highest digital ad ROI, 48% choose Google search. Facebook came in second at 30%, significantly leading all other social platforms in performance.
If marketers plan to invest in social media advertising at all, Facebook must be the place to start. In today’s competitive landscape, all managers must be carefully investing their budgets in strategies that drive the most revenue.
Facebook offers a variety of ad types: image, video, slideshow, carousel, instant experience, collections, and more. You can optimize your campaigns using any of these options to drive sales of your products. Carousel ads, for instance, allow you to include an array of images that illustrate the value of your product.
Facebook ads also offer some unique features designed to help eCommerce sellers drive sales on the platform. For example, multi-product ads offers advertisers the chance to display numerous product images in a single ad:
You can set it up so when someone clicks on individual products in an ad, it takes them to a unique landing page. With visual Facebook ads, you can further promote discounts to encourage your audience to act now:
Facebook Shops is a valuable (and often underutilized) feature that helps you create a virtual storefront on the platform. No other social media outlet has a similar option. A Facebook Shop is a page with a selection of products connected to your business page. It’s the most appealing to merchants, retail, and eCommerce advertisers who want to reach more people with their products on Facebook.
A Facebook Shop can help you:
Instead of displaying products on static pages on your eCommerce site, Facebook Shops encourages people to engage in social conversations surrounding your products. This offers social proof that can influence more people to buy.
It’s possible to create Story Ads for both Facebook and Instagram. This is a valuable strategy to capture the attention of your audience on the platform—especially considering that more than 300 million people use Facebook Stories and Messenger Stories every day.
Facebook Story Ads help advertisers meet all sorts of goals, including building brand awareness, video views, app installs, conversions, traffic, and generating leads. For eCommerce sellers, they’re a great opportunity to showcase products in real-world applications:
According to an Ipsos survey, 62% of people say they’re more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in a story. And more than half of people say they’re making more online purchases as a result of seeing stories.
Since Story Ads are included alongside normal stories from people’s friends, it’s much easier to capture audience attention with your ads. Facebook might not be the only advertising platform offering Story Ads (Snapchat also has this option), but it definitely has the largest audience to work with.
Your advertising strategy shouldn’t exist in isolation from the rest of your marketing initiatives. Getting people to click on your ad is just the first step in the customer journey. You need to effectively nurture them to make a purchase as well.
Facebook Messenger offers a huge opportunity for advertisers to nurture their leads. Rather than sending ad clicks to a landing page on your website, you can direct them to a conversation with your business in Messenger.
So, what’s the main benefit of this?
A look at Facebook’s 2019 Holiday Shopping Guide tells us that 65% of holiday shoppers report being more likely to shop with businesses they can instantly message.
Once you open a dialogue with your audience in Messenger, you can use the platform to deliver more relevant marketing content. You can also use it for lead generation by capturing their contact information. This is particularly valuable for businesses promoting expensive products or those with a long sales cycle.
Facebook further allows you to create ads to target audiences within Messenger. No other advertising platform offers this kind of interactive targeting and nurturing scenario. Having the ability to converse with your audience using customer service representatives or even automated chatbots can do wonders for turning ad clicks into sales for your business.
Facebook is constantly coming up with new ads, targeting features, and optimization functionalities to improve how people can market their products on the platform. For example, in September 2019, they updated their product catalogs to improve the speed of data feed uploads. This helps eCommerce advertisers keep their data feeds current and accurate, so their ads match the information on their landing pages.
While small changes like this can go a long way to improving conversions and revenue, it’s Facebook’s ability to revolutionize the online shopping experience that really makes it one of the most valuable advertising platforms. At a recent marketing conference, Facebook hinted that updates to their AR platform will have applications for retail and shopping environments. In the future, AR shopping will allow shoppers to virtually try on products using a phone camera.
This offers a unique shopping experience where people can match makeup colors, test out a piece of furniture, try on sunglasses, and more:
Whether you’re just getting started with Facebook marketing or you’re looking to reinvest, these important strategies are trends for success in 2020 and beyond:
One of the biggest benefits of Facebook marketing is creating and targeting different audience groups at a granular level. A lot of advertisers don’t bother digging into these specific groups, though, simply because they’re smaller. Targeting smaller groups of people drives up your cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM), but it also gives you an opportunity to create a marketing message that’s relevant to each.
Smart advertisers invest in creating numerous ads as well as making micro-changes to each to improve targeting. Look at this multi-product ad for nursing dresses, for example:
It’s targeting women of childbearing age, but the brand could be more specific with their ads by also targeting life events (e.g. maternity dresses for pregnancy versus nursing dresses for after giving birth).
Facebook can also help you discover new audiences to target based on your current audience data. Lookalike Audiences is a feature you can use to reach out to new people who may be interested in your business because they have similar traits to your current audience.
Creating video marketing content for Facebook is often very involved and costly, but it also delivers the best results. Video remains the most popular content type on a platform known for passive engagement.
There are several different types of video content that advertisers can invest in, from video posts to Stories and Facebook Live. People spend three times as much time watching a live video than a pre-recorded one. Live videos offer some humanity for brands, making them look more authentic.
Brands can also upload 360 videos to Facebook. These are videos that record all 360 degrees of a scene so viewers can watch different angles. Brands like AT&T, Samsung, and Nestle have boosted posts using this video format to successfully capture audience attention, improve engagement, and drive conversions.
Prioritizing mobile user experience in marketing is nothing new, yet many marketers take it for granted today. Having a responsive website design is just the first step in optimizing for mobile. You also need to have ongoing assessments of user experience for your different marketing initiatives, especially with Facebook. Consider:
Mobile-first Facebook marketers need to know how their ads and marketing content look on mobile devices. When users click on ads, how do the landing pages appear?
Marketers must also consider how audiences might perceive their brand if they only interact with their marketing content on mobile. For example, mobile ads take up much more screen space than on desktop. Could your brand possibly come off as intrusive or annoying in this format?
Businesses should further test out the ease of use on the path to conversion on mobile versus desktop devices. Eliminate barriers to ensure users can easily shop and convert on mobile. Thanks to AR videos, Stories, Facebook Shops, and multi-product ads, a lot of the shopping experience can happen on Facebook itself, as opposed to your website. So mobile-first optimization means considering both your website and the advertising platform itself.
Facebook advertising isn’t just about broadening your brand reach on social media, it’s also a valuable platform on which to target your current leads, convincing them to convert. If you install Facebook’s tracking pixel on your website, you can easily launch retargeting campaigns. This allows you to show ads to people who have engaged with your brand in the past. Previous website visitors that you retarget with display ads are 70% more likely to convert.
Facebook allows you to create custom audiences for targeting based on different behaviors, such as visiting a certain web page or adding items to a cart without checking out. You can also upload data you’ve collected from your audiences, such as their names, email addresses or phone numbers. Facebook will automatically connect this information to their associated Facebook profile.
Businesses can use retargeting ads for a number of objectives, from awareness to consideration and conversion. eCommerce sellers get the most value by targeting conversions, online catalog sales, or in-store visits.
It’s important to remember that Facebook is a platform for passive engagement, as opposed to active searching for products and services. Marketers can target their audiences with the most relevant message, but it can easily become part of the background of scrolling and content consumption.
If marketers want to drive their audience to take action, they need to offer a reason. For eCommerce sellers, this can be promoting an offer or sale to drive conversions. For businesses looking to generate leads, this can be promoting a sweepstake to capture contact information.
Facebook’s AR technology also offers new options to encourage audiences to engage with your products:
Data giant Facebook is constantly looking for new ways to leverage user information to create a better advertising experience. With ad revenue as high as $16.6 billion per quarter, the platform is invested in helping advertisers make it easy to reach their target audience and drive conversions.
So the question is not if Facebook advertising is a good investment, but instead how businesses can best allocate their budget and ad strategy to maximize the benefits for their marketing initiatives.